SWABI: The leaders of political parties have appealed to the people to realise the gravity of the situation arising out of coronavirus pandemic and observe self-quarantine.

In separate video messages, they said the people should avoid handshakes and hugging.

Former health minister Shahram Khan Tarakai said instead of handshakes people should just put their right hand to their chest to welcome others. He said the people should confine themselves to their homes because the next two weeks were critical.

Abdul Karim, adviser to chief minister on industry, visited the Bacha Khan Medical Complex, Shahmansoor, where he was briefed by the doctors that so far all the coronavirus suspects had tested negative.

Later, in a video message on social media, he said the people should follow the instructions of the government and medical experts to prevent themselves from becoming the victims of the pandemic.

Later, during a visit to the 20-bed isolation ward in the Category-C Hospital in Topi, MPA Mr Karim called on the doctors and paramedical staff to educate people about the importance of self-quarantine.

Masaud Jabbar, former deputy general secretary of Qaumi Watan Party, said people should learn a lesson of coronavirus devastation in Iran, Italy, China and the US.

Mohammad Ashfaq, Awami National Party’s Razaar tehsil president, said he was happy to see that the people had finally given up orthodox beliefs and preferred self-isolation to protect themselves from the virus.

Shiraz Khan, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz district president, said with the return of the party’s central president from the UK, the PML-N would expedite its efforts aimed at educating people about the importance of precautionary measures.

QUARANTINE CENTRES SET UP: District health officer Dr Kalimullah, who assumed charge of his office three days ago, told Dawn that two more quarantine centres had been set up one each in the University of Swabi and the new Topi tehsil building.

He said such centres had also been set up in Bacha Khan Hospital Complex, Shahmansoor, Category-C Hospital Topi, and Civil Hospital, Chota Lahor. He said the varsity had spared an academic block for the quarantine centre.

Meanwhile, markets in the entire district remained closed and public transport remained off-road.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2020